Thoughts on training diary.

When I started training, I managed for quite some time (read months) to write down almost every technique we did during class. Although I felt that this helped me review and remember some techniques, it soon started to feel exhausting and almost mechanical. Some techniques that were written down did not even translate to my mind if I reviewed them later on, so I began doubting my way of keeping track of my training.

My idea of what a training diary can and should be has since then changed, and with this post I am planning to re-introducing this aspect of training once again to my regime. Here are some my thoughts about how you should go about when tracking your training through a personal log:

Do not write down everything

This was what I did which led me to feel like a typing robot. Try to be mindful and picky with what you are taking time to write down. You do not need to write down every step of a technique that you already have some grasp of. Focus on writing down key details instead.

Write proper

It is easy to get lazy and rely on your future self to understand what “jump like a squirrel then turn 180 to pass the guard” means, but truth is he probably wont. Instead take your time and really try to formulate your sentences so that even an outside person would have a chance of understanding. Also, I find it much more pleasant to go back and review notes when they are neat and tidy written.

Beyond technique

Your notebook should contain more than just description of techniques, it should also include reviews of your mental states during training sessions. In my opinion, this is the most important and beneficial aspect of tracking your training through notes, and really helps your mental discipline while training. Basic questions like “what did I do right and what did I do good?” prevent you from having an autopilot approach to your grappling.

Weekly review

Take some time once a week to quickly revisit the notes of the past week. Put some extra focus on the mental notes and extract of them things that you could improve upon. Write these things down on a separate note that you will keep close by before every upcoming training of the next week to give you a quick reminder of what you need to work on. Here you could also write down techniques that you want to develop, to remind yourself to actually go for them while sparring.


Match Study Blueprint

This is my first blueprint that I came up with which I will try to work with when breaking down and analyzing grappling matches. The word around town is that breaking down the elite athletes game in this sport, is one of the most crucial and necessary steps if you want to enhance your development. It is even more important if you do not come from a top gym yourself, but still want to make good progress.

The blueprint I have come up with looks like the following:

  1. Choose a match and watch it attentively. Be aware of the current rule system (for example: EBI, IBJJF or Submission only) and how this could effect the players style. Keep a notebook at your side and write down brief timestamps of important events.
  2. Re-watch the match, now looking for specific details. When did each athlete score points? How did they manage their damage control?
  3. Re-watch the match, this time analysing the setups of the attacks. How were they setup? Did the opponent make a misstake, were they tricked or forced to do so? Element of surprise?
  4. Re-watch the match, but now, look to understand how each athlete work their positional control, grips and guard recomposing etc. This is where the most subtle details probably lies so take your time and do not rush it.
  5. Finally, if there is an instructional made by one of the athletes your studying, pick it up and look up the techniques that were used during the match. This will probably offer some valuable key points for your understanding of the move.

On this blog I will share the results of my studies and maybe even with an accompanying video. If you want to comment and call bullshit (aka constructive critic) on any of my notes, feel free to do so.

Take care!